PACT: Fostering animals for military families

May 24, 2013 2:30:57 PM PDT
A local program is offering peace of mind to soldiers headed for active deployment. It places their pets in foster homes while they are overseas.

Samantha loves Sasha, 110-pound Cane Corso that her family has fostered along with Vada, a mixed breed. The dogs' owners, Kathleen and Drew Barton, were deployed to Afghanistan.

"I got real nervous, because I didn't know what I was going to do about these dogs. They're my babies."

When their plans for pet care fell through about a week before their deployment, the Bartons', who live in Mays Landing, were left frantically calling shelters. They thought they'd have to put their babies in a kennel, which would have been very expensive.

Then, Kathleen checked the internet and found Buzz Miller and PACT: People, Animals - Companions Together. It's a group dedicated to helping military personnel find temporary homes for their pets.

"They are risking their lives," said Buzz Miller of PACT, "and they have one less thing to worry about."

Within 24 hours the group had a family that was interested.

"I was kind of toying with the idea of getting another dog," Dave Calveresi of Malvern, told Action News. "Went on Craig's List and found the ad for PACT."

Soon after, Kathleen and Drew brought Sasha and Vada to Dave's home to join Dave's boxer, Duke.

"Within a 4 to 5 day period," Calveresi said, "we went from, 'Let's think about this' to 2 more dogs."

The Bartons spent nearly four months repairing aircraft in Afghanistan and say their dogs couldn't have received better care.

"I was just blown away at the love and compassion they had for my animals."

The Calveresi's are now fostering Samson, whose owner is in Kuwait.